Culture

This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun. This Is for Fighting, This Is for Intelligence Work.

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From today's Washington Post:

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

"Take one of these. You'll love it," the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for more pills.

Ordinarily the CIA might bribe its informants with guns and cash, but the side effects of those options aren't always welcome. And so, according to the Post, they've turned to "novel incentives and creative bargaining," including "pocketknives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas, and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos."

I look forward to the dueling Reichian and Foucauldian interpretations of this approach.